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Turk and Barroso on the Lisbon Strategy with the Members of the European Parliament and the National Parliaments

Dr Žiga Turk, the Minister responsible for development, participated in the public discussion of the Committee of the European Parliament on Economic and Monetary Affairs with national parliaments on the topic of the Lisbon Strategy

The Slovenian Minister for Growth, Dr Žiga Turk, was, together with the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barosso, the keynote speaker at the traditional meeting of the Members of the European Parliament and the national parliaments, held in Brussels today. This year, the three-year cycle of the Lisbon Strategy will be concluded and during Slovenia's Presidency, at the Council Meeting in March, the conclusions for the new three-year cycle (2008–2010) will be adopted.

“By signing the Lisbon Treaty, a period has come to an end, during which Europe has spent a lot of time focusing on its internal, in particular on its economic form, and in recent years also on its political form. Now, Europe is far better equipped to open to the world and to co-create the world's trends, such as globalisation, communication revolution, the Third Industrial Revolution and the conceptual age,” declared Dr Turk when addressing Parliament Members.

The Lisbon Strategy, which was in 2005 revised and entitled “Strategy for Growth and Jobs”, works and shows good results; namely, in the last years economic growth in Europe reached 2.7%; 6.5 million jobs were created, the unemployment rate dropped below 7% and public debt below 60%, while the budget deficit dropped to approximately 1.1% of gross domestic product. Structural reforms have improved the foundations of the European economy, which can therefore more easily cope with the crises in the financial markets and the increased prices of raw materials, in particular of oil and food. The Minister emphasized that such a success of the Lisbon Strategy was only made possible by its revision in 2005, transferring a great part of responsibility to the Member States. However, the Minister underlined the ever-increasing uncertainty of the world economy, a fact that should stimulate Europe to continue the reforms and the modernisation of its economy and society, and added: “Neither Slovenia nor Europe should rest on its laurels.”

In respect of this year's renewal of the Lisbon Strategy for the new 2008–2010 cycle, Minister Turk stated: “The implementation of the Lisbon Strategy requires the support of everyone involved. The Commission has done a good job by preparing the Lisbon package, which was published in December. The Lisbon Strategy is also one of the five key priorities of Slovenia's EU Council Presidency. Social partners, non-governmental organisations and in particular the European Parliament and the national parliaments have been involved in wide-ranging discussion.”

At the spring meeting in March, the Council will adopt integrated guidelines (macroeconomic, microeconomic and employment guidelines); it will also adopt specific recommendations for Member States with regard to their progress in implementing national reform programmes, and invite all actors involved – the Council, the Commission and the Parliament – to implement the Community Lisbon Programme. The Council will also support some key activities and goals in four priority fields: Europe's concern for the environment, Europe's concern for its citizens and their social status, efforts towards a more active Europe, and efforts towards a more innovative and creative Europe.

In his conclusion, Minister Turk emphasized in particular the environmental dimension of the Lisbon Strategy: “Despite the fact that this issue has been very popular in recent years and has greatly occupied the political and public sphere, I am personally committed to clearly locating it within the Lisbon Strategy. We must not treat energy and climate change outside the context of growth and jobs.”


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Date: 15.02.2008